How to Keep Rats Out of Your Vegetable Garden (17 Ways)

Keeping rats out of your vegetable garden is not as difficult as you might think. This article will cover some general information on how to keep rats out and also a few home remedies that have worked for other people.

Most people know that rodents spread disease, such as Listeriosis, Salmonella, and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. The feces left behind by rodents can also contaminate food and beverages.

For these reasons, it’s very important to know how to keep rats out of your vegetable garden so your food doesn’t get eaten or contaminated.

16 Ways To Keep Rats Out Of Your Vegetable Garden

Here are the 16 ways to keep rats out of your vegetable garden.

keep rats out of your vegetable garden
keep rats out of your vegetable garden

1. Rat-Proof Your Vegetable Garden With A Fence

The first thing you should do is put rat-proof fencing around your vegetable garden. This is most effective if you use sisal or woven wire mesh fence 6-feet tall and 18 inches in diameter. There are many other products on the market, such as poles with plastic bags or water-filled barrels, that work well for exclusion purposes.

The next step would be to place large rocks or bricks along the perimeter of the fencing. This increases the threat of crossing from one side of the garden to another.

Also, the thicker your fence, the more effective it will be. When you think a new rat problem has occurred, you may want to consider placing traps out in your vegetable garden.

2. Install Rat Traps

If you are not able to enclose your vegetable garden with a fence, use rat traps. There are several commercially available rodent traps that work well when placed along the perimeter of the garden.

With these traps, you place bait in the box or container and place that in the center of the garden where you anticipate rats to be coming in.

The next step is to place a sticky glue board overtop of this trap. This will catch any rats that try to devour the bait. Remember to check these traps regularly and quickly dispose any rats or mice you have caught.

Be sure to contact your local health department if you think you have rats in your vegetable garden. If you are going away on a vacation, use gloves to handle the rat traps and place them in a sealed plastic bag before disposing of them. You don’t want any rats or mice inside your home during your absence.

The best traps for rates include:

  • Tin Cat Rat Trap
  • Victor Easy Set Mouse Trap
  • Victor Tin Cat Rat & Mouse Traps 3-Pack
  • Use Poisonous Baits

You can also use poisonous baits to eliminate rat problems in your vegetable garden. The best bait for this purpose is a block of tamper-resistant rodenticide, which is designed for placing on top of a snap trap.

It does not accumulate at the site of application and has few secondary poisoning hazards to humans or other animals.

The next step is to put a block of tamper-resistant rodenticide on top of a snap trap and place this inside your vegetable garden. Below are some of the most commonly-used brands:

  • Tomcat Mouse Killer II (0.09% Bromadiolone)
  • Rat X Mouse II (0.22% Bromadiolone)
  • Victor Plus Rodenticide (0.12% Bromadiolone)

3. Use Bait (Insects, Compost, and Other Foods)

You can also use a mixture of natural foods, such as compost or insects as bait to keep rats out of your vegetable garden. The next step would be to place several meat trays in different locations around the perimeter of your vegetable garden.

The meat trays should be in the ground, which makes them more effective. The next step would be to leave a mixture of meat, compost, and insect larvae in these trays for about 12 days.

4. Use Smelly Vegetables

You can use smelly vegetables as bait for rats if you do not have other problems in your garden at the moment. If you do not have any other problems, then you may want to crack open a whole raw garlic bulb to place inside your vegetable garden’s soil or compost pile.

The next step is to leave the bulb in the garden or compost pile until they are ripe. When this happens, you can bring them out and discard them in a trash can.

5. Use A Fogger

If you do not have anything in your garden that can be used as bait, then you may want to consider using a fogger. The best fogger for this purpose is called Pac-a-Ratt Rat & Mouse Attractant. This should be placed around your vegetable garden’s perimeter every three to four weeks.

6. Use Garlic Oil

You can also use garlic oil, which is derived from garlic cloves, to keep rats out of your vegetable garden. The next step would be to mix this garlic oil with water in a spray bottle.

You can use 1/8 cup of oil for every 1 gallon of water. This mixture should be sprayed around the perimeter of your vegetable garden and in the garden soil. You may want to use gloves when you are dealing with this mixture.

7. Use Pepper Sprays or Other Toxic Sprays

You can also use various household items including pepper spray to keep rats out of your vegetable garden. The next step is to place some of these toxic sprays around the perimeter of your vegetable garden.

The best domestic toxic spray for the purpose is a product called Avon Skin Saver Toxic Spray (5% Anise Oil). It should be sprayed around the perimeter of the garden at least once a month.

how to keep rats out of your vegetable garden
how to keep rats out of your vegetable garden

8. Use Cement Boards

You can also use cement boards to keep rats away from your vegetable garden. This is a good idea if you have a lot of these pests in your vegetable garden as it helps to prevent them from getting access to your vegetables.

The next step is to place cement boards around the perimeter of your vegetable garden and then cover them with thick plastic mulch.

9. Use Plastic Trappings

You can also use plastic tripings to keep rats out of your vegetable garden. These tripings are usually made from polypropylene and have holes in them to allow air to pass through.

The next step is to place these tripings around the perimeter of your vegetable garden’s perimeter fence.

You should place them on top of the soil, right next to the fence so that they reach towards the ground. This helps prevent rats from making a tunnel under the wall and getting into your vegetable garden.

10. Use A Guard Animal

You can also use a guard animal to keep rats out of your vegetable garden. You can get this guard from your local pet store or a feed store.

The next step is to make sure that it is well trained and has no problem walking around in the vegetable garden, especially at night. You should place the animal around the perimeter of the garden each night after dark and let it stay until morning.

The animal should start marking its territory with urine where it stands so that rats know not to eat from this area. Cats are perfect for this role as they will usually eat down all other rats that try to come into their territory.

You may like, How to get rid of fruit flies in the garden.

11. Tear Off Hedges

You can also tear off hedges from around your vegetable garden’s perimeter fence and use them to keep rats out of the garden. You should place new hedges on top of the existing ones and change them with the old ones every 30 days or so.

This will make it nearly impossible for rats to build a nest in your vegetable garden because it makes them uncomfortable do so.

12. Use An Indoor Greenhouse

You can use an indoor greenhouse if you have enough space to construct one. The next step is to build a sturdy fence around the greenhouse perimeter. You should make sure that it is high enough so that rats cannot jump over it.

Then you should fill in the spaces between the boards with a strong material to prevent rats from digging underneath and getting into your vegetable garden.

13. Harvesting Vegetables More Often

Rats will not quickly eat down your vegetable garden if you begin to harvest from it on a regular basis. You should do this as often as possible to make sure that there is no large amount of vegetables sitting in the ground waiting to be eaten by rats.

The best way to do this is to simply harvest small sections at a time and then plant more for your coming harvest. Doing this will also keep rats from building a nest in the area because they will see that there is no food present for them.

14. Hire A Professional Exterminator

Professional exterminators generally have the best experiences with rat removal. The reason is that they are able to seal the holes quickly and effectively.

If you wait, rats will continue to enter your home through other methods. Exterminators will be able to remove any rats that are in a nest or living within your walls.

15. Keep Your Garden Clean

This may go without saying, but keeping a tidy garden goes a long way. If you have weeds, signs of insects, or overgrown shrubs and trees, they’ll invite more pests into the area than if things were maintained.

If you need help with this, consider hiring a professional landscaping company to come in and take care of things while you’re on vacation so there’s no problems when you return.

16. Check With Your Local Health Department

Probably most importantly, if you think you have rats in your vegetable garden and have any questions about how to get rid of them, contact your local health department for instructions.

This infestation could be part of a larger local issue, and it’s good to report these problems in case there’s anything your local government can do to assist you.

how to keep rats out of vegetable garden
how to keep rats out of vegetable garden

Which Vegetables Do Rats Most Commonly Target?

Rats will eat most vegetables. Some favorites include corn, squash, and zucchini, lettuce, leafy greens, turnips, and carrots. They love berries and many types of fruits; they can also damage some trees including fruit trees.

Potatoes are the most common vegetable that rats will try to take from your garden. However, some vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants are also hit often.

So, whatever you you have planted in your vegetable garden this year to provide a nutritious food source for you and your family, is likely a good candidate for being targeted by rats.

Signs That Rats Have Gotten Into Your Vegetable Garden

In addition to seeing rats in your garden, you may also notice evidence of their activity such as droppings, gnaw marks on stalks and stems, or damage to plants. One example of this damage can be observed in the photo below.

You may also notice gnaw marks on your house or fence. Sometimes you can even notice them on the inside of your home.

Why Should You Avoid Spraying Your Garden with Pesticides?

Pesticides are a big part of how we attempt to control pests in this modern world. However, just because something is available and legal does not mean it is the right thing to do. Some pesticides can be harmful to humans, mammals, and the environment.

Even if they are considered safe in small amounts, it is best to read the directions on any pesticide you use and follow them closely. Chemicals from sprays and other pesticides may have negative effects on both your vegetable garden and your home.

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Final Thoughts

Controlling rats is a very difficult task and they can be quite persistent. These creatures are curious, determined, and agile. They have been known to climb up walls, jump on counters, and even walk across wires in order to get what they want. They are also very resourceful when it comes to finding food sources, chewing through concrete walls and metal pipes to get into your home’s wall voids and attic spaces.

An effective method of controlling these rodents from your vegetable garden is by combining different pest control methods together. For example, you can use snap traps in combination with bait to control the rats. Bait should be placed around your garden’s perimeter so that it is clearly visible to the rodents and can be easily removed.